SEMANTIC ABNORMALITY IN TRANSLATED MULTILINGUAL HEALTHCARE MESSAGES IN NIGERIA

PUBLISHED: SEPTEMBER 2018

AUTHORS: Joy Aworo-Okoroh & Jude Badaki

Abstract
Communication is vital to healthcare programmes. This notion emphasizes the need for healthcare
messages to be crafted in ways that are lucid and simple to the reader—especially the lay man.
Such an acceptation underlies the thrust of this study which seeks to examine meaning relations in
multilingual healthcare messages. The rationale is to look at expression choices whose meaningspecificity
in one language should not be lost while translated into other language texts. Corpora
for this study would be randomly sourced from healthcare centres in the area of research and
deselected to reflect healthcare messages on Trachoma, Diabetes, Measles, and Polio. This
selection has considered the significance of the listed medical conditions in Nigeria, the World
Health Organization (WHO) and other related bodies. A study of this nature is of immense benefit
to translators of healthcare messages in the sense that attention should be paid to expression
appropriateness. Attention would also be drawn to the aspect of ambiguity in a subgenre of
pseudo-medical language in the sense that semantic shift could affect word denotation and
connotation. Not the least is its importance to the enlightened multilingual reader whose wideranging
lexicography could question word legitimization or flexibility in translated healthcare
messages. This study argues that, to avoid semantic dissonance, word or expression choices should
be restricted by the rule of meaning-specificity. Using the referential and relational theories of
meaning, and employing a descriptive methodology to corpus analysis, this study aims at revealing
the challenges of semantic abnormality in translated healthcare messages in English, Hausa,
Yoruba and Igbo in Nigeria.

Keywords: healthcare messages, meaning-specificity, semantic abnormality, multilingual,
multimodal semantics

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